Gearing up for a better Kettle season than last year

The Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign starts Friday, Nov. 22, with big hopes for 2013.

Salvation Army volunteers are launching the annual Christmas Kettle Drive Friday across Chilliwack with the help of Santa Claus (Don Nicholson) to fund local Sally Ann programs all year long.

The bell ringers are ready to fan out across Chilliwack.

The Salvation Army Christmas kettle campaign starts Friday, Nov. 22, with big hopes for 2013.

Sally Ann volunteers will be graciously accepting donations in the familiar red kettles to fund ongoing operations and local programs at Salvation Army.

“We believe that everyone should have hope and be treated respectfully every day,” said Ian Pratt, community ministries director at Chilliwack Salvation Army.

“Our Christmas hamper campaign is in full swing.”

About 1,600 food hampers will be handed out to those in desperate need so they can enjoy a festive meal and not go hungry during a time of celebration.

“This program costs in the region of $100,000 which is a staggering amount to raise,” he noted. “Without the community support we would not be able to achieve this.”

Christmas is actually the main time for Sally Ann fundraising to ensure programs are equipped to meet the needs of the community with the help of community generosity.

It’s going to mean digging deeper.

“The Christmas (kettle) drive came up well short of its goal last year and meant a tightening of what we could accomplish, but thankfully no programs were compromised,” said Pratt.

The goal is to increase donation totals for 2013 so they are not confronted with a $40,000 shortfall like they did last season.

Adopt-A-Family is gearing up in its second week.

They’re hoping about 300 families will be sponsored through the Adopt-A-Family program.

“These are families in danger of not having a Christmas meal or toys for their children.”

The people they help come from all walks of life.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of pensioners, young families, single parents and those that are homeless and at risk of being homeless seeking help from our programs.”

Last year The Salvation Army provided over 7,000 hampers, 3,100 meals, and gave out over 25,000 emergency food line hampers.

“We provided more than 4,000 nights’ accommodation at our shelter, freely distributed over $78,000 worth of product from our thrift store.”

Those services are in addition to Adopt-A-Family, Christmas hampers, cheque administration, Fireside Addiction services, church, daycare and thrift store and more.

Here’s another fast way to help. By texting ‘HOPE1003’ to 45678, a $5 donation will be sent to the Chilliwack Salvation Army.

“Text To Donate is a fairly new program to us,” he added.

If they prefer, donors can also show up in person at the Care and Share building at 45746 Yale Road or by adding a cheque or cash into one of the traditional Christmas Kettles.

“This all could not be accomplished without the full support of the individuals, families, community groups, and businesses who come together to financially support or volunteer their precious time.”

Any business owners who would like a kettle or a food barrel at their location can contact Pratt at 604-792-0311 or call 604-792-0001 to fill out an Adopt-A-Family application form.

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